Streamlining the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) Workflow with a Next-Generation EHS Solution
Blog | September 2nd, 2022

Streamlining the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) Workflow with a Next-Generation EHS Solution

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for hazardous chemicals are a mandatory requirement as per OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) (29 CFR 1910.1200(g)).

It is mandatory for chemical manufacturers, distributors, importers, and any company that uses chemicals to attach the SDS for users to get information about potential chemical-related hazards. Some of the information to be included in the SDS include:

  • Properties of each chemical used
  • The physical, health, and environmental health hazards
  • Protective measures to be taken
  • Safety precautions for handling, storing and transporting

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While this is an essential activity, it can also be very cumbersome, especially in industries where several types of hazardous materials are used. Creating and maintaining the SDS is a critical activity both from a compliance and safety standpoint. However, documenting, storing, and accessing several SDSs can become a complex process, especially in industries where several types of hazardous materials are used.

When creating an SDS, access to a library of documents, including those created earlier, is important to ensure standardization. As the documentation volume increases, the creation of the SDS can become difficult and time-consuming, not to mention confusing and prone to errors.

Failure to create a robust process to manage SDS documentation can result in penalties, product recalls, and hefty fines.

Create, Store, and Manage Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) with ComplianceQuest’s Document Management System

As the company grows and activities scale, the process of authoring, storing, and accessing these safety data sheets must be streamlined.

This is difficult in a manual process, adding costs and time to the effort without ensuring quality and compliance. Automation, on the other hand, can minimize errors and improve resource utilization as well.

ComplianceQuest’s Document Management Software is integrated with the Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) platform and brings much-needed efficiency, accuracy, and regulatory compliance into the SDS creation process.

Some of the benefits of automating the creation of SDS using ComplianceQuest include:

Faster SDS Creation: ComplianceQuest Document Management Solution (DMS) helps to speed up the SDS creation process while improving its accuracy. An integrated document management system allows the SDS to be stored in an easily retrievable format. As a result, earlier documents for the particular chemical can be accessed easily, allowing its reuse after checking for any required modifications.

Maintain a Master Chemical List: Create and maintain a master chemical list with features, hazards, and controls for each to reduce the time taken to create new SDSs.

Manage Risks, Audit, Change: Being an integrated solution, the DMS also enables risk management every time a new chemical is introduced. Audit trails help to track the use of chemicals and ensure workplace safety. Change management alerts safety leaders of the new risks that come with changes in chemicals, processes, or people, helping put appropriate controls in place.

Use Pre-Built Templates: Designed for flexibility and ease of use, the ComplianceQuest DMS solution helps with the creation of customizable templates and layouts for SDS based on the needs of different markets and customers. A common database stores templates that can be retrieved and used based on the need with speed and compliance. Customized logos based on need can be used to print to distinguish the business’s brand from other similar products in the market. All these can be done within minutes and without much difficulty.

Improve Compliance: The SDS forms are available with appropriate fields and phrases to choose from. This makes filling out the data simple while ensuring all important details necessary to complete the SDS are provided to be compliant. The fields and options can be modified to suit the needs of the business or the product. New templates can also be created from scratch within the system.

Print and Store: The filled-out form can be printed, used for labeling, and stored appropriately, forming part of the existing central repository. This can be shared with internal and external stakeholders through email or Chatter. Reviews, approvals, and version control are also possible. This helps speed up the document creation process and minimize the confusion caused by multiple versions of the document.

Audit Trail: The system also provides an audit trail by giving access to the complete historical records of the various versions of the SDS. This is especially useful to identify any errors and rectify them.

Reduce Storage Needs: Storing in electronic format is important from the compliance point of view, for easy access during audits and when required by regulatory bodies. Physically storing data needs physical storage space, which can become limited over a period of time, while costing money to buy space. Cloud-based storage from ComplianceQuest reduces the need to invest in physical storage as well as lowers the cost of hardware and software.

Analyze and Manage Use of Hazardous Chemicals Better: Access to data on chemicals can help businesses analyze their stocks and improve safety controls. Storing can be managed to minimize risks and the chemical can be handled only by trained employees to minimize health and safety incidents.

The automation of the SDS workflow using ComplianceQuest’s DMS helps companies that use chemicals manage the environment, health, and safety of their organizations end-to-end. Manufacturers can create a culture of safety, where the employees are provided with tools to not only manage the SDS lifecycle but also report events, observations, and near misses. It helps the managers and the HR identify and plan training programs to improve the skills of the employees to effectively and safely discharge their responsibilities. Managers, supervisors, and safety leaders can generate permit-to-work to allow only authorized workers to access hazardous chemicals to minimize the risks of accidents.

CQ’s integrated EHS solution offers features such as:

  • Incident Reporting and Management
  • Safety Observations
  • Permit-to-work
  • Supplier Management
  • Training
  • Change Management
  • Audit Management
  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Management Review
  • Reports and Dashboards
  • Risk Management

Together, they provide crucial data needed to identify risks, assess the impact, prioritize mitigation plans, and prevent and control events to make the workplace safe.

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